LANSING, Mich. — Second-term Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to Congress, citing a desire to focus on his family and expressing frustration with his time in Washington.
The decision was a surprise because Mitchell is 62 years old and was elected less than three years ago to a safe GOP seat. He said his goal has been to address significant challenges facing the country, such as health care, immigration and infrastructure.
“However, it appears to me that rhetoric overwhelms policy, and politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city,” Mitchell said in an emotional speech on the House floor. “The time has come to make a difference for my family — to focus my time and energy upon them, their needs, their goals.”
Mitchell last week criticized President Donald Trump for tweeting that four Democratic congresswoman of color should “go back” to countries “from which they came,” but he opposed a Democratic-backed House resolution that condemned the comments as racist. Mitchell subsequently asked Vice President Mike Pence for a meeting with Trump to discuss the tweets and how the crowd at a Trump rally chanted “send her back” about one of the women, Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The other three women were born in the U.S.
Mitchell represents Michigan’s 10th Congressional District, which includes the rural Thumb region and portions of Macomb County in suburban Detroit. The district’s voters heavily backed Trump in 2016.
A retired vocational school company CEO, Mitchell spent $2.9 million of his fortune to win a five-way Republican primary in 2016 following the retirement of Rep. Candice Miller. He beat three political veterans and a military veteran.
Mitchell unsuccessfully run for a different congressional seat in 2014 and led the opposition against a 2015 state constitutional amendment that would have increased the sales tax to boost spending on roads.
“It is an honor to stand on this floor, debate issues and represent the people of Michigan’s 10th District,” he said. “I’m proud to be among the 12,500 or so that have had the privilege to serve in Congress.”
The following is a statement from Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox regarding the announcement by Congressman Paul Mitchell that he will retire from Congress at the end of his current term:
“Congressman Paul Mitchell has done an amazing job representing the people of Michigan and fighting for his constituents in the 10th district. His passion for workforce development and training has impacted countless lives. I was saddened to learn of his upcoming retirement from Congress, however I respect his decision to spend more time with his family and wish him the best.”
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